Tag Archives: Business plan

End of Year Time For Cleaning and Planing

Staying ahead of the competition should begin now. As the business down the street begins to wind down the year, this is the most opportune time to reflect, review, renew, and re-invigorate your own business.

As December comes to a close and people start vacations and time away from the office, it’s the perfect time to see what went right during the past year, what went wrong, what you meant to do, what you shouldn’t have ever done, and what changes need to be made.

Speak to your team and get feedback first. These are your most important assets. From the warehousemen to the drivers, from the installers to the sales team and to the office personnel. They are in it day in and day out. They are your front-line. They see your customers from prospect to buyer, and from purchase to pick-up. They speak to them after purchase and before purchase.

Next, speak with your customers. Who purchased the most from you? How’d they find you? Why do they buy from you? What are they happy with and what are their pains? What are they forecasting for the upcoming year? There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways you can probe and prod. But remember to be tactful. Yes, if you’re asking, they’ll already know that you care. But take it toa level above. where they’ll also know that you are interested in their day-to-day business and how you can help.

Clean your desk of all unfinished business. Employee reviews, unfinished projects, financial closings and close-out liquidations should all be coming to end and plans must be in place to close your current year in the strongest manner poassible. Review your business plan for the current year and tie up all loose ends. Whip your team into shape and coach them into finishing the year better than last. Contact your most valuable customers for final year-end deals.

Work on editing and fine tuning your revised business plan for next year. Plan for changes that need to be made to the things that didn’t work in the past year. Brainstorm for ideas that would improve what you did last year. Plan all twelve months taking into account your schedule for this past year. What do you need to do to accomplish your big hairy audatious goals (BHAGs) during the next twelve months. Who needs to be on board? What type of role will you play? What role will they play? Have all of your employees and even your customers help. You don’t need to show them your plan, but you shouldd tell them how they helped. It will not only help in your relationships with them, but it will also make you more accountable and likely to achieve what you set out to accomplish.

Most likely, this all happened while your competitor up the street was sleeping or on vacation!

Feder’s Distributors Sales Up in a Down Economy!

As 2008 comes to a close, I can look back in amazement at what a year it was for business. Gratefully, our overall business was up over the previous year, but I still feel for those other businesses that suffered greatly. With layoffs, the recession, store closures, and government bailouts, I feel so grateful for what our sales team, deliverymen, warehousemen, installers, and office personnel have accomplished this past year. As sales in our industry ended down about 20-35% overall, I am thankful to report an incredible 17% INCREASE in sales over 2007 for Feder’s Kitchen Appliance and Air Conditioner Distributors!

How did it happen? Well, first and foremost, we had a plan. At the end of 2007, we met and discussed the upcoming year and specifically decided what to focus on. What changes needed to be made, product lines that needed to be dropped, and what we wanted to start selling. We looked at the bulk of our business and decided where we could pick up more business and tried to alleviate what may not have been working.

Next, we decided to focus even more on our customers than in the past. We made a dedicated effort to say thank you as often as possible, using a simple thank you card and other promotions. Next to the Feder’s team, our customers are the most important asset we have. We listened to feedback after all of their purchases and tried to implement our 100% satisfaction guarantee.

We also focused our business on a small niche that give us the expertise where our customers feel comfortable purchasing from us after we give our insight and opinions. We are not only experts in the multi-family management, investor, and builder market, but we have been selling air conditioners and appliances for more than 42 years! In addition, we are not afraid to tell a customer that we can not help them in certain situations. I like to say that we don’t know what we don’t know and that if a customer feels we are making up an answer to a question is a bigger flaw than telling them that we can’t help, or don’t in fact know the answer.

We’ve recently completed our plan for 2009, and with the help of our amazing team and incredible customers, we hope next year will be the best one yet!

Here’s wishing you, your families, and all those you care about the best 2009 has to offer. Happy holidays and Happy New Year!

Gratefully yours,

The Feder Family